#weekendcoffeeshare – 7/21/2018

Oh, please come in, grab a beverage, and find a seat! I’m so sorry we had to meet in the coffee shop today instead of at my house! I’m having company today and tonight.

Thank you so much for dropping by my #weekendcoffeeshare today. Wasn’t that storm we had last night terrible? We didn’t get the worst of it here. About 70 miles to the west, in the city where many of my friends live, they got hit pretty hard. Lots of downed trees, power lines down, people trapped in cars. Several of my friends were without power or any services for many hours. At least the storm brought a cold front in with it and the weather is so much more pleasant today. The humidity is lower and so is the temperature.

I’m very proud of my 4.5 month old puppy, Tucker. He was a real trooper during the storm. There was big thunder and lightning. Tucker did lay close to me, but he was not fearful. When he first came to live with me, I played ball with him during storms. It seems to have helped him cope now.

Now for Tucker update for the week. His newest accomplishment is that he learned to be comfortable in his harness and his seat belt harness in the car. You can see him in the picture above. He is started to look around, look out the windows, just be comfortable in the car in general. I’m proud of him! Now if he’d only stop chewing on my hands and being a holy terror in my house! One step at a time, I guess! 🙂

My writing is going slowly right now. After all, it’s summer. I have a puppy to train and we are about to take a little vacation. In fact, next Saturday, I’ll write my weekendcoffeeshare from on the road in our RV! I’ll keep you in suspense until then. I have gotten some work done on my historical World War II novella this week, but not as much as I’d like.

Some sad news. I think I’ve mentioned before that I went to an unusual high school. It was located on a college campus and was a private, teacher training school. I went lock-step through twelve grades with the same 28 kids, give or take. Most of us are still close. We grew up much like siblings. One of the boys in our class is quite ill and may not make it. One of the other people in the class, a girlfriend, is driving here today to visit him. She is my company for the evening.

That’s all from northeastern Kentucky today. Thanks for joining me for coffee! I hope all of you are meeting your writing goals, but that you’re also having fun this summer!

 

Thanks to eclecticali for hosting #weekendcoffeeshare!

Hemingway and the Sea – #SoCS

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The “Old Man and the Sea.” One of my favorite books by my favorite classical author.

This isn’t a book review. Far from it. Who could review Hemingway? I wouldn’t presume to do so. I’ve re-read “The Old Man and the Sea” recently and I just want to make a few comments about the book and about Hemingway.

One reason I like Hemingway as a classical author is because of his writing style. It is concise, succinct, and spare. He writes in short, declarative sentences. There is nothing flowery about his writing, unlike some of his contemporaries. He keeps many of the adverbs and a large number of the adjectives out of his writing. That lets the reader see the real story. The succinct story.

The book is, quite simply, about an old fisherman and his struggle with his last big fish. Most readers will draw the conclusion that the book is about a man’s struggle to prove himself one last time, in his old age. Hemingway didn’t feel the need to clutter up his story with descriptive adverbs and adjectives. He just wrote the story clearly and sparely. It’s classified as a novella, a form of literature which is back in style in publishing today.

His writing style must have worked. Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954 for the “Old Man and the Sea.”

Why the Donald Trump Presidency is Dangerous

A friend recently pointed out to me that I am irrational about my vehement dislike of the Donald Trump Presidency. I don’t think I’m irrational, but I am afraid. Allow me to explain my reasons,

I can remember presidencies since the John F. Kennedy Presidency beginning in 1960. I have studied many other presidencies. This is the first U.S. Presidency that I can remember or know of where the people who support Trump, his base, take his position on issues whether they believe in that position or not. For example, the issue of family separation that has been happening at the U.S. southern border. Good people who never would have been in favor of any child being taken away from its mother support that Trump policy (which has since been repealed) even though they would never have thought of such a thing before Donald Trump.

Other examples are farmers in the midwest who supported and still support Trump even though he is imposing tariffs affecting their own products and individuals in poverty-stricken in Appalachia supporting Trump even while his policies lean toward reducing benefits such as Medicaid.

Such blind loyalty to a President is a dangerous thing. We can’t just say that Donald Trump is all-knowing and will do the best thing for us. We have to think for ourselves. Once we turn over our free will to a mere man, we are lost. We are lost to our democracy becoming an authoritarian regime and all the corruption that goes with it. We are lost because our votes will no longer count. We are lost because no one man knows what is best for us.

America is lost.

The Companions

You came to me at four months old, all full of puppy shenanigans. Sweet, kind, and loyal from the start, I couldn’t believe my luck. You were beautiful with the one blue eye and one brown eye. It’s been 20 years ago and I remember what you looked like as a puppy precisely.

You and I were together through some hard times. My mother lived with us and when you were two years old, she passed away. You comforted me more effectively than anyone else could. We lived alone together,  you and I, for seven years, until you were nine years old. I wouldn’t have survived the loneliness without you.

We saved each other’s lives, you and I. You got a chew bone caught in your throat one night and you were choking to death. Somehow, I pried it out before you died. Innumerable times, you woke me up when my blood sugar was low and saved my life. I literally owed you my life.

When you were ten years old, I remarried. I still had to see you the last thing before I closed my eyes at night and the first thing when I opened them in the morning. You were starting to get old. You had fought chronic pancreatitis all your life.

When you were fourteen, you had a tooth abscess. There was no choice but to have your veterinarian pull it. When you came home, you collapsed for two days and the vet came to the house. I begged you to wake up. Finally, you did. You were never the same again. The vet diagnosed you with canine dementia brought on my the anesthesia.

Within six months, I couldn’t bear to watch you go to the closet door to go outside instead of the outside door. You didn’t feel well. When you looked at me, you were begging me with your eyes. I sent you over the Rainbow Bridge and it barely took any medication at all. It broke my heart.

For five years, I couldn’t bear to look at a Cardigan Welsh Corgi. They were all you. Finally, I started to miss having a Cardi in my home and a kind friend was able to find a puppy for me. He is of your bloodline, a great-nephew several times removed. Sometimes, he reminds me of you, but he’s his own little man. I love having a Cardi again.

I don’t expect him to replace you. I can already see signs of him becoming a great companion dog like you were, even though he’s only three and one-half months old. He’s so smart and I see the loyalty building. I wonder what you’d think of him?

He’s the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night, just like you were. I love you, Eliza, and now I love Tucker too.

https://rosemarycarlson.com

#SoCS – 5/26/18 – Appalachia: Memorial Day

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It’s Memorial Day weekend and that’s an important holiday in Appalachia. It’s a holiday that honors lost loved ones, whether they were lost in war or died of natural causes, in this region of the U.S. In Appalachia, it’s a weekend where families reunite, have large meals together, and decorate the graves of their deceased relatives with flowers. Across Appalachia, Memorial Day is most often called Decoration Day.

When I was growing up, and even now, the family would congregate where most of the relatives were buried. In my case, that was at my grandparent’s home in Magoffin County, Kentucky. Every nuclear family within the extended family would bring beautiful flowers to decorate each grave. Often, that would involve going to three or four cemeteries.

Memorial Day at the cemetery was also a social occasion. Families who seldom saw each other would have a chance to talk and catch up while decorating the graves.

After decorating the graves, everyone would go to my grandmother’s house for a large meal and a visit with each other afterward. It was one of the most important family holidays of the year.

We still honor our lost loved ones in Appalachia in much the same way. Families are smaller. There are fewer large family meals. Instead of meals in grandma’s kitchen, they are often prepared on the grill. You will still find people hunting flowers a few days before the Memorial Day weekend to decorate gravesites. They will still enjoy visiting with family and friends in the cemeteries. It’s getting more difficult to find children who know what “Decoration Day” really means and who it honors.

#Core – #MothersDay

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On this Mother’s Day, I find myself thinking about my mother and what her passing meant to me. She’s been gone for eighteen years now. My dad died when I was comparatively young – only 30. I had my mother for many years after he passed away. After she died, I felt a keen since of mortality at my core. There was no one left older than me. That meant I would, at some point, be next. You really feel that when both parents are gone as they were in my case after my mother died.

When your mother dies, you feel quite alone. Even though I was closer to my father than to my mother, I felt more alone after she died. You never quite get over losing your parents and I think I can safely say, your mother. I think that may be because your mother nurtured you before you were born and immediately thereafter.

Mother’s Day also revers the maternal bonds as well as being a celebration of Mothers. I don’t know a lot about maternal bonds. My mother did her best, even though she was plagued by serious illness all of her life or the portion of her life in which I knew her. We didn’t have the strong bonds many daughter’s and mother’s have.

I hope every Mother out there has a wonderful Mother’s Day today and that you get to spend it with your children!

#weekendcoffeeshare – 04/29/2018

Please, grab a cup of coffee or tea and sit with me. I have been out of things for awhile and I only just learned that eclecticali has taken over #weekendcoffeeshare and I want to say a big thank you! I’ve always enjoyed writing and reading these posts and have missed it!

If we were having coffee, I would try to catch you up on my writing and my life while asking about you. I feel that I’ve gotten to know so many of you and this is the forum where we could always share and catch up with each other. As for me, it has been a tough winter here in the Ohio Valley in the U.S. A long winter that started in November and hasn’t ended yet since it frosted last night. Very cold, snowy. Spring is trying to come, but it’s a very late spring since in two days, it will be May!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I took a rather long writing break during the winter. I was in the middle of my novel and for those of you who have written a book, you know that the middle is the hardest part. I put it down and have just now picked it back up again. I feel like I’ve now gotten some perspective on it and can continue to write. Sometimes, you have to get some distance. The distance helped me and I think, now, I can write with a vengeance.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have been without a dog for over nine months now. That’s the longest I’ve ever been without a canine companion in my life. I had a dog during this time, but she was a fear biter so that didn’t work out. I’m waiting on a puppy! I’m excited about that and hope that this works out. Anything can happen with puppies, so right now I’m just keeping my fingers crossed.  I should know in about two weeks about the puppy, so be hopeful for me!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I don’t do well without a dog in my life. I’ve always had a special relationship with them.

If we were having coffee, I would share with you that my husband is waiting to see a neurosurgeon. He has a back issue that is painful and somewhat disabling. We are both worried and hope that he can try physical therapy first. We don’t intend to jump into surgery.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you to tell me how you have been and what is going on with your writing and your life. I’ve missed hearing your stories! I’d also like to know if there is a badge or image that we should put on our #weekendcoffeeshare posts? Thanks!

Thanks to electicali for hosting #weekendcoffeeshare

Independence Day in America

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I started to write this blog post about what Independence Day, the Fourth of July, meant to me. But, I changed my mind. Independence Day only means one thing and it should mean the same thing to all of us. This day, the Fourth of July, Independence Day, marks the birth of the United State of America. Our independence from Great Britain in 1776.

When the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, in Philadelphia, they knew that Great Britain would certainly take issue with the American colonies breaking away from their mother country. They knew they were effectively declaring war. They knew that the American colonies did not have the numbers of people or weapons to fight off the British. They had faith that they would, somehow, prevail.

Four days later, the real celebration began. The Continental Congress was still meeting. The Declaration of Independence was read. The Liberty Bell rang. The coat of arms of the King of England was taken down and the celebration began. The United States of America came to life.

What followed was the American Revolutionary War between the 13 colonies and the British Crown. It lasted through approximately 1783 and was a bitter and bloody battle. The French entered the war in 1778 and assisted the Americans. By 1781, the Americans had basically won their freedom. On September 3, 1783, in France, the British recognized that the Americans had won their freedom in the Treaty of Paris.

The British set sail for America. Our freedom was hard won by hard scrabble colonists against professional British soldiers more than 200 years ago. We became a republic, a democracy, then, and have been a shining example of hard-won freedom since. We’re reminded on this day, the Fourth of July, how hard those colonists fought and under what terrible circumstances. Many of us in America have ancestors that fought in that war, myself included. We have a stake in America’s freedom. We should celebrate this day and be sure that America beats the standard that democracies usually don’t last more than 200 years.

Happy Fourth of July to all of you in the United States of America!

Hospitality in the Retail Sector

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I went to a new day spa last week. I really enjoyed my experience there. Part of the reason that I did was their hospitality. Of course, that is supposed to be part of the experience at a day spa. You pay for a period of hospitality and pampering, although some are better than others. I have visited other day spas that were also very hospitable and some that were not. I doubt the ones that were not stayed in business very long since hospitality is part of the business model for day spas.

During and after my visit there, I started thinking about business today and how inhospitable most retail business is to customers. I don’t shop much in brick and mortar stores, preferring to do most of my shopping online. But when I do shop in the brick and mortar stores, it always strikes me how retail stores could do so much better from a profit perspective if they were only hospitable to their customers.

The sales staff in large retail stores certainly never make a move to help the people shopping in their stores. That attitude trickles down to even the smaller, boutique retail shops. Although the smaller shops occasionally help their customers, particularly if asked, I would not call them hospitable. In most stores today, sales staff seems almost non-existent and the staff that does exist seem to prefer to stand around talking to each other instead of helping customers. I’ve even had sales staff tell me that the product I’m looking for is available online but not in their stores, so I would be better served by shopping in their online store.

When I hear that vocalized, I always wonder why there is even a brick and mortar store there? If they don’t have their own products nor the sale staff that wants to sell them, why don’t they move to 100% online? They would save so much money.

I call the current attitude of many retail stores the “Wal-mart Mentality.” Anyone who has read much of what I write knows my issues with Wal-mart. Wal-mart may have provided a low-cost way to shop but trying to find assistance if you are shopping there is impossible. There are not hospitable. It seems that, since Wal-mart came to communities, other retail outlets have adopted their business model of not helping or caring about their customers.

I’m left wondering how much more profit retail businesses would make if they would be more hospitable and helpful to their customers. If they trained their sales staff in courtesy and hospitality, I would guess they would see their profit margins rise.

The Day in the Porch Swing

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It was about 1980. I was a grownup. Married. Living life on my own. But with regard to some things, I think you always stay a child. This was one of those things. I was at my grandparent’s house with my mother and my aunt and uncle. They were helping get my grandmother ready to leave her home and live with one of her daughters. It was a hard day.

My grandfather had passed away several years before. The family had tried to leave my grandmother in her home by providing help for her, but that just hadn’t worked out. It was time to do something else. She was quite elderly, almost 90 years of age. Young for her age, however. I remember how beautiful she still was. Still smart, savvy. She was a tough Eastern Kentucky lady. It hadn’t been many years since she was squirrel hunting. I was always a little scared of her, but I admired her.

I remember that I tried to help but, typically, my mother wouldn’t let me. I spent most of that day sitting on the old porch swing. Many homes in my part of the world, back in those days, had wide front porches that went the full length of the house, where family and neighbors gathered in the evenings for fun and fellowship. There was always a porch swing. It was my favorite place to sit at my grandparent’s house and, I suppose, in the back of my mind, I knew this would be the last time.

As I looked around, it occurred to me what a beautiful place it was there in the eastern part of Kentucky. My grandparents farm was in a bowl-shaped valley, surrounded by hills rich with valuable hardwood timber. Not only did the residents of the valley farm, but fossil fuels lay beneath the surface and there was drilling for oil and natural gas. A beautiful, rich place. I’d taken it for granted growing up. I didn’t anymore.

My uncle had passed away a year before my grandfather. As I sat there in the porch swing, I had thoughts of those who had gone before me on that patch of ground, especially my beloved grandfather and uncle. I could see my uncle pull in the driveway in his postal service car. At that point, I heard the sound of tires on gravel and I looked around. The car in the driveway looked like my Uncle’s car. I thought to myself that it wasn’t possible. He had been gone for a while now. I felt like I just blinked my eyes and I saw my Uncle leaning against his car as he so typically did, grinning at me. I wanted to call for my mother, but there wasn’t time. The next thing I knew, he was walking up the road with his back to me, but he seemed just to be a shadow. I watched him walk. As he walked away, he slowly disappeared.

I just sat there, in that old swing, for a few moments. There was, indeed, a car in the drive but it wasn’t my Uncle’s. I knew that I had seen him. I had never had such an experience before. It somehow gave me peace, not only about my Uncle but about my grandmother leaving home. I don’t know how to explain that further. It was a bit of a spiritual journey for me. The day in the porch swing.